Watch Hollywoodland, Believe in “Batfleck” By John Garcia
The internet exploded the night of August 22, 2013 with the announcement that Ben Affleck will be the Batman opposite Henry Cavill in the Superman Sequel. Fanboys all over went up in arms in anger about this decision, while some went as far as filing online petitions to have this decision reversed. I’m sorry to break this to those fanboys, but Ben Affleck will make an awesome Batman for the primary reason that he ALREADY played a performance akin to what a Batman would be, his portrayal of a bitter older man, of George Reeves in Hollywoodland. There are also other reasons, but the Hollywoodland argument is by far, the most concrete one to show, not just tell, a non-believer of “Batfleck.”
In Hollywoodland, Affleck plays the role of former Superman actor George Reeves. He is basically a bitter old man struggling with his multiple personas as George Reeves the person and actor, and his outward persona, Superman. While Superman is essentially a different character than Batman, Affleck’s portrayal of a character burdened with his alter ego, who is tortured by it, and unable to escape it, is a very powerful one. All the while, he also was a very serious man, with a surly edge to the tenor of his character’s body language and overall performance.
He also balances this bitter man performance with his Superman persona, an outward persona to show the public, one that is likeable, charismatic, but can still be taken seriously. There is a scene in Hollywoodland where Affleck, playing Reeves playing superman faces a child who wants to get involved in the skit, and wants to shoot him with a pistol. The problem was that he saw that the gun was real. He talked the kid down into not firing the gun, and giving it to him, as Superman, with an earnest attitude that seems likeable and jovial, while being really a smart and methodical George reeves behind that persona. This just shows Affleck’s multi-layered performance of multiple alter egos: a bitter old man in the root of everything, and a jovial likable seemingly care-free facade.
Those multiple layers sound very familliar, just like Batman and Bruce Wayne. Batman is the George Reeves character, serious, intelligent, and very angst-driven. Bruce Wayne, as any real Batman fan would know, is not the true identity, but the facade; Batman is the true identity of the Dark Knight, and he only wears the Bruce Wayne facade when he needs to interact with the world that knows him as such. This is very much the Superman persona Affleck portrays in Hollywoodland. He is clearly a facade, but he is still functional enough and human enough to matter and be believable.
One last thing to remember about “Batfleck” is that he will be an older Batman facing down a young superman, with elements of the Frank Miller classic inspiring the film. Affleck’s Reeves as a bitter old man who is gruff and serious is basically that older Miller-esque Batman. I would not be surprised that his Hollywoodland performance is what made it for Affleck.\